Years ago my teenage daughter proudly announced “Mom, did you know the Lord’s Prayer is in the Bible?” I gave her a very puzzled look and wondered why this was suddenly a revelation. She had grown up in the church, gone to Sunday School since she was a baby, attended Christian School her entire life, knew the Lord’s Prayer by heart how was this a new discovery? Then I thought epic fail!?! What I realized was as she was taught the Lord’s Prayer, it’s meaning and importance no one said (or she didn’t tune into) “this is scripture. It is found in Matthew 6:9-13.” (Also in Luke 11.) I can tell you that since that exchange whenever I have had the opportunity to teach children the Lord’s Prayer I make sure we read it from the Bible.
Jesus gave his disciples and us a pattern to use for prayer. He didn’t say just pray this prayer, he used this as a model for prayer. “Our Father” shows us a personal relationship. “Which art in heaven” speaks of the need for reverence. Then there are six petitions. According to the Beacon Bible Commentary “The first three are for Kingdom interests. The second three are for personal needs. The order is significant. The needs of the Kingdom must always have priority over everything else.”
The three Kingdom petitions:
• “Hallowed be your name” – which is worship.
• “Your kingdom come”
• “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
The three personal needs:
• “Give us today your daily bread”
• “And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors”
• “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
I believe the Lord’s Prayer is foundational. I am so glad I learned it as a child and carry it deep in my heart and memory. There have been times in my life when the only words I could utter were “Our Father which art in heaven…” When my daughters and I visited Ground Zero on September 28, 2001, a NYPD chaplain lead us in the Lord’s Prayer. I was struck in that moment that the Bible says “my word will not return void.” I remember when my dad had a stroke I couldn’t even find words to pray but then through tears the Lord’s Prayer flowed from my lips giving me peace, comfort and assurance that my Heavenly Father had my earthly father safely in His mighty arms. Sometimes getting back to basics is exactly what I need.
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father,who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,[a]
but deliver us from the evil one.[b]’ Matthew 6:5 – 13”
- Using Your Gifts to Please God
- Losing Control